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View Diary: BP Catastrophe Liveblog Mothership: 92 (16 comments)

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  •  As always, a big thank you to the dKos community (44+ / 0-)

    for your support of the BP Catastrophe liveblog. The Gulf Watchers greatly appreciate your recs for the Mothership and participation in the ROVs.

    Not a peep out of BP or Thad Allen yesterday about their pipe fishing experiment. Monday, Thad Allen said that BP was working on a backup plan should they not be able to remove the well pipe. Allen will be holding a briefing today at noon EDT.

    The pipe cam feed, or BOP-o-Scope as the Gulf Watchers have been calling it, was up for quite awhile today. It showed the same stuck ram that we saw Sunday. They have made many attempts to open the stuck ram but, so far, we haven't seen signs of success. However, the camera is currently back down so maybe there will be some good news soon.

    There was some very hopeful research just published in Science, a peer-reviewed journal.

    In the aftermath of the explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, a dispersed oil plume was formed at a depth between 3,600 and 4,000 feet and extending some 10 miles out from the wellhead. An intensive study by scientists with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) found that microbial activity, spearheaded by a new and unclassified species, degrades oil much faster than anticipated. This degradation appears to take place without a significant level of oxygen depletion.

    However, the findings are provoking a bit of controversy.  

    University of South Florida mircobial ecologist John Paul, part of a recent study that found oil in Florida fish spawning beds and contradicted federal claims of the oil’s disappearance, wasn’t convinced by the new results.

    The differences in bacterial abundance, diversity and hydrocarbon degrading potential are "slight" between plume samples and regular Gulf seawater, said Paul. He also said that the gene-tagging technologies used by Hazen’s team are used by few researchers "because they are often problematic in execution and interpretation of results."

    According to University of Maryland aquatic toxicologist Carys Mitchelmore, Hazen’s team only measured the breakdown of select compounds in the oil. "There’s lots of other chemicals in the oil," she said.

    Both the recently published Woods Hole study which found that the plume they sampled was not degrading at the rate they expected and this study that offers more hope are just small microcosms of the much bigger issue of dispersed subsea oil in the Gulf. Continued scientific dialog will end up resolving the seeming differences in the two studies' conclusions. Let's hope that we see many, many more peer-reviewed studies come out soon and in the long term.

    Mother Jones managed to wangle a tour of the backup relief well rig, Development Driller II.

    Yesterday's testimony from Daun Winslow, a top Transocean manager, testimony yesterday did not invoke much confidence in our preparedness to deal with deep water well blowout.

    A lack of proper technical gear and the inability to receive large e-mails from shore hampered the effort to shut the flow from the Macondo well in the desperate hours after the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon, according to testimony Tuesday morning before a federal panel investigating the disaster.

    Check out the latest news in the most recent ROV diary and join us for comments and questions.

    In consideration of those with slow internet connections please refrain from posting embedded graphics, photos or videos. Please post links instead.

    We watch, so all will know.

    by Gulf Watchers on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 03:01:55 AM PDT

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